SOASTA and O'Reilly Media Launch ‘Time Is Money: The Business Value of Web Performance’

Resource for digital businesses explores the intersection of web performance, user experience and business metrics – just in time for back to school shopping

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--()--SOASTA, the leader in performance analytics, and O’Reilly Media today announced the launch of “Time Is Money: The Business Value of Web Performance,” an easy-to-use resource about the intersection of web performance, user experience and business metrics for digital businesses. Written by SOASTA Senior Researcher Tammy Everts, the book is now available for digital download as an ebook or for purchase as a print edition on the O’Reilly Media website.

Drawing upon her many years of web performance research, Everts explains how web page speed and availability affect human behavior and uses case studies to demonstrate how Walmart,, Mozilla and other organizations significantly improved conversion rates through simple upgrades that made their websites faster.

“My goal in writing this book is to arm managers with the material they need in order to make a data-driven case for investing in performance,” said Everts. “Learning how to address our human neurological need for quick, uncomplicated processes can have an enormous impact on business outcomes. This couldn’t be more critical than during the back to school shopping season.”

Neurological Need for Speed

Consumers don’t just want technology to be fast, but at a deep neurological level, they need it to be fast; it’s deeply rooted in their neural wiring.

According to Everts, when users are happy as a result of a fast website, they’re more likely to follow calls to action telling them to register, download, subscribe, request information or purchase.

Unhappy users—those who experience a mere two-second slowdown in how a web page loads—simply do less. According to one study cited in Everts’ book, internet users who experience slow websites make almost 2 percent fewer queries, click 3.75 percent less often, report being significantly less satisfied with their overall experience, and even tell their friends about their negative experiences.

This strong neurological response to page load times is tied to a phenomenon that the visual memory system – or iconic memory – holds on to visual information for about 100 milliseconds. “Getting page load times down to 100 milliseconds can keep information from falling through the cracks in our iconic memory, while also giving our short-term and working memory ample time to do all the parsing they need to do before they start losing information,” said Everts. “This has massive implications for conversion rates.”

Speed as Competitive Advantage

Poor digital performance is now being measured by businesses in terms of lost customers and revenue. This is especially true for ecommerce. In the United States alone, ecommerce has grown at an average rate of 15 percent year over year for the past five years. By 2018, that number is projected to surpass the $400 billion mark.

According to Everts’ findings, site speed has emerged as one of the greatest factors – second only to online security – in determining consumers’ satisfaction with a website’s performance. In fact, almost half of all online shoppers say they will abandon a page that takes more than two seconds to load.

“In a traditional brick-and-mortar scenario, abandoning one store for another requires leaving the outlet and physically travelling to the waiting arms of the competition,” said Everts. “On the web, competitors are just a couple of clicks away. Improving how pages perform is arguably one of the single greatest ways digital businesses can optimize their sites’ conversion rate – and keep customers returning to their sites.”

The Performance ‘Sweet Spot’ for Back to School

Everts’ data shows that two seconds on a smartphone will make all the difference for retailers for the critical back to school shopping season.

Smartphone purchases for back to school have doubled. In 2014, just over 60 percent of total traffic came from desktop users, while around 33 percent came from smartphones. Just one year later — for the same set of sites — 65 percent of traffic came from smartphones, while 25 percent came from desktops.

The performance “sweet spot” – the page load time that yields the best conversion rate – has shifted from six seconds to two seconds for smartphone users. This shift represents a new trend in user expectations: mobile users expect pages to load faster.

“Last year, the ecommerce channel gained $90 million in dollar share growth versus brick-and-mortar, and predictions are that this year the gains could be even greater – with smartphone purchases dominating online retail traffic,” said Everts. “The stakes couldn’t be higher, and two seconds could determine the winners and the losers in the back to school shopping season.”

About the Author

Tammy Everts has spent the last two decades fascinated by the many factors that go into creating the best possible user experience. As senior researcher and evangelist at SOASTA, she explores the intersection between web performance, UX and business metrics. Everts is a frequent speaker at industry events, including IRCE: Internet Retailer Conference + Exhibition, Summit, Velocity and Smashing Conference.


SOASTA is the leader in performance analytics. The SOASTA Digital Performance Management (DPM) Platform enables digital business owners to gain unprecedented and continuous performance insights into their real user experience on mobile and web devices in real time and at scale. With more than 100 million tests performed and more than 300 billion user experiences measured, tested and optimized, SOASTA is the digital performance expert trusted by industry-leading brands, including 53 of the Top 100 internet retailers, six of the Forbes Top 10 media companies and seven of the Forbes Top 10 tech companies, including Apple, Target, Nordstrom, Staples, Home Depot, Sears, Walmart, Etsy, Best Buy, Adobe, Intuit, Microsoft, DIRECTV, Netflix and CBS. SOASTA is privately held and headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. For more information about SOASTA, visit

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.


Gaby Perez-Silva, 650-390-6700


Gaby Perez-Silva, 650-390-6700